Unseal the tongues of Kashmiri Journalists

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It is utterly appalling to see the way Kashmiri media is being muted by the government of India. On the sixth day of curfew, Kashmiri news papers and televisions remain unable to communicate since there is a communication and information lock down. This the primary tool that the Indian government uses to intensify the occupation through constitutional coup, abrogating article 370 and article 35 A which are identitarian and constitutionally essential of a Kashmiri.

On the fifth day of the inhuman lock down, as media houses like NDTV openly say that “NDTV and all its journalists believe Kashmir as an integral part of India and as such is India’s internal matter. All our reports will continue to represent the view of every Indian without fear or bias of any kind” for any journalist who understand the current situation in J&K as genocidal occupation, it’s high time to stand with the journalists of Kashmir who had been silenced since August 5th.

Kashmiri journalists must have an environment to work within Kashmir other than travelling to Delhi or Punjab to get internet connectivity like a messenger. Kashmiri journalists have put their lives at stake till the date to let the world know about the genocide Indian state carries out in Kashmir. It wouldn’t be an easy way through for a Kashmiri journalist historiographing her/his times of resistance but they had been forced to work under stressful environments, handling the psychological trauma each and every crime committed by the Indian forces at their home and their own people. They are the ones who are murdered, arrested and blinded by pellets for covering the atrocious brahminic occupation by India. Journalists like Asif Sultan and Qazi Shibli are in custody of Indian state for doing their work.

Few things are of concern

Only representatives of certain traditional, national, savarna media houses are allowed to do a peaceful reporting at Kashmir. But exceptionally, reporters of The Wire and The Quint could do some work from the ground. On August 8th, the Al- Jazeera reporter quotes a Kashmiri reporter, who had tried to use his camera after getting out to the street somehow,
“I tried to take some photos and videos, but the deployed forces stopped me. They asked me to shut my camera; I told them I am a reporter. They replied: ‘Everything is over now, go back.”

Since we belong to the territory of occupational India and have access to internet and the international community, the journalists in India must speak out loud about the grave injustice being meted out at Kashmiri people and Kashmiri journalists. The national journalist fraternities and organizations, media houses etc. have made their stances clear via their silence or their words, except very few bodies of journalists expressed their solidarity with Kashmiri journalists, like Network of Women in Media, India and Editors Guild of India.

Currently, only international media can report from Kashmir. Traditional Indian media houses are serving the interests of Modi and Amit Shah and they are blabbering about development from the curfewed streets in Kashmir. This is a grave abuse of press freedom and violation of fundamental rights when the native journalists are silenced and blocked. What Indian media does in Kashmir right now is just an extension of what they had been doing since years.

On the fifth day of curfew Kashmiris were taken to the streets in thousands, against Indian occupation and they are demanding freedom from India. Many of them are injured by pellet gun right into their eyes and many of them are blinded. Meanwhile, communalists continue openly making rape threats and genocidal comments completely objectifying Kashmiri women.

The Indian state must end the blockade in Kashmir now. Hope the constitutional coup, since it is built upon blatant lies would soon be perished by the Kashmiri people’s legal battles and struggles. We must stand along with Kashmir’s independence movement and every Kashmiri’s right to speak out.

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